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Hatch Urges Senate Colleagues to Vote to Begin Debate on Obamacare Repeal
Utah Senator Says, “Any Senator who has fought with us to undo the damage caused by Obamacare should be willing, at the very, very least, to take that step and allow the floor debate to actually happen.”
WASHINGTON – Ahead of a vote to begin debate on repealing and replacing Obamacare, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today urged his Senate colleagues to vote in favor of the motion to proceed to the House-passed reconciliation bill.
“Anyone who supports the larger effort to repeal and replace Obamacare should be willing to at least debate the various proposals that have been put forward,” Hatch said. “That, Mr. President, is the very definition of a no-brainer.”
Hatch continued, “…The fact remains that we are close to being able to pass legislation that would accomplish the majority of our goals and keep most of the promises we’ve all made to repeal and replace Obamacare. But, before we can do any of that, we need to at least get a chance to consider and debate the matter on the floor. That’s what this afternoon’s vote will determine: Whether we are committed enough to this effort to at least take that step. Any Senator who has fought with us to undo the damage caused by Obamacare should be willing, at the very, very least, to take that step and allow the floor debate to actually happen.”
The full remarks as submitted to the Congressional Record:
Mr. President, I rise today to once again remind my Senate colleagues what is at stake with the procedural vote that will take place later today.
After lunch, the Senate is set to vote on the motion to proceed to the House-passed budget reconciliation bill. Thereafter, should the motion pass, the Senate will start working in earnest to consider and, hopefully, pass legislation that would repeal and replace Obamacare with a two-year transition period, or other, specific replacement policies.
That is a complicated undertaking, Mr. President, to say the least. However, this first vote – the one on the motion to proceed – is relatively simple. While pundits and talking heads have already analyzed this particular vote to death, all of the talk boils down to a single question: Do Republicans want to repeal and replace Obamacare?
I don’t want to belittle or discredit the concerns some of my colleagues have raised about the various legislative proposals that are out there. However, later today, we won’t be voting on any particular policy or proposal.
On the contrary, the vote will simply be to determine whether the Senate is actually going to consider the budget reconciliation bill. Members won’t be voting for or against any particular healthcare proposal, they will simply be voting on whether the Senate will actually debate any such measure.
That being the case, the vote should be a simple one. Anyone who supports the larger effort to repeal and replace Obamacare should be willing to at least debate the various proposals that have been put forward.
That, Mr. President, is the very definition of a no-brainer.
The final pieces of Obamacare were signed into law in March 2010, more than seven years ago. Since then, the law has been one of the key focal points of legislative and political debate and discourse nationwide. Very few topics in our nation’s history have been the subject of more public debate and fierce disagreement.
After all this time, one thing is very clear: Obamacare has failed the American people.
The vast majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the healthcare status quo. These people want answers from Congress that will bring down their healthcare costs, reduce their tax burdens, and put them back in charge of their own health care. And, for more than seven years now, virtually every Republican in Congress has been promising to provide those solutions.
We’ve never been closer to making good on those promises than we are right now with a Republican President ready to take action to support Congressional efforts to repeal and replace this unworkable law.
Make no mistake, none of the major proposals that have been put forward are perfect. In fact, in my personal view, they are all far from perfect. But, at the end of the day, any bill – particularly a bill as wide and sweeping as one that addresses a large portion of our healthcare system – that is “perfect” in the eyes of one Senator is likely fatally flawed in the eyes of 99 others.
Translation: When it comes to legislating successfully, the word PERFECT shouldn’t be in anyone’s vocabulary.
Like any aspect of governing, drafting and passing important legislation is about compromise and prioritization. It is about recognizing which fights need to be fought now and which ones can wait for another day.
I’ve been here a while, Mr. President. In that time, I’ve noticed a few things.
Some who are elected to this chamber would rather fight the good ideological fight for legislative purity than get the majority of what they want – but not everything – through compromise. These people tend to claim that even the most embarrassing legislative losses are victories, so long as they can say that they went down swinging.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Mr. President, speaking in terms of advocating good policy, I’ve never been one to back down from a fight. In fact, I have battled some of the most revered and admired Senators in our nation’s history right here on the Senate floor.
But, one reason I think I’ve developed a reputation as an effective legislator is I don’t believe that fighting for a cause is an end unto itself. Fights are only meaningful if there is an objective in mind. And, while I’m no mathematician, I believe getting 60, 70, or 80 percent of what you want out of a bill is better than getting nothing, even if, on the way to getting nothing, you’ve fought a valiant fight for that perfect – yet ultimately unattainable – outcome.
The fight to repeal Obamacare, at least from where I’ve been standing, has always had an objective in mind. That objective, of course, has been to actually repeal Obamacare.
We’ve fought for that objective for more than seven years. And, now, we find ourselves on the cusp of being able to take major steps toward that larger goal.
No, we don’t have a perfect bill to vote on.
However, the fact remains that we are close to being able to pass legislation that would accomplish the majority of our goals and keep most of the promises we’ve all made to repeal and replace Obamacare.
But, before we can do any of that, we need to at least get a chance to consider and debate the matter on the floor. That’s what this afternoon’s vote will determine: Whether we are committed enough to this effort to at least take that step.
I remind my Republican colleagues that when the Obamacare reconciliation bill was brought up for debate in 2010, all of our friends on the other side, who were present at the time, except for one member, voted in favor of the motion to proceed. They supported their leader. Leader McConnell is owed the same loyalty.
Any Senator who has fought with us to undo the damage caused by Obamacare should be willing, at the very, very least, to take that step and allow the floor debate to actually happen.
I hope we all will. Toward that end, I once again urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the motion to proceed to the House-passed reconciliation bill to allow the Senate to begin debate on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
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